Kane Enabled

By Alec Meer on January 7th, 2008 at 12:28 pm.

A camera angle you can't actually play the game from. Good old press shots.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men didn’t appear on many Best of 2007 round-ups, but it’s nevertheless a game that no-one’s going to forget in a hurry. We still don’t know the full story behind the Jeff Gerstmann sacking saga, but whatever it was, it’s hard not to think of Eidos’ sweary shooter without a certain distate.

(Coincidental aside – rare brain disease Gerstmann’s Syndrome has as one of its symptoms “a lack of understanding of the rules for calculation or arithmetic”. In a crazy alternate world where Gerstmann suffered from Gerstmann’s, at least he’d have a good reason for awarding 6/10 to a game he kicked the hell out of…)

Now it’s time to make that distate objective. Maybe. It’s your chance to decide whether Kane & Lynch deserves a lynching: a demo of the controversial (and, most critics say, a bit rubbish) third-person shooter has skulked onto teh interwebs today, almost a couple of months on from game itself. A sign of poor sales? Or just of someone not being bothered to port last year’s Xbox 360 and PS3 demo to PC until now?

Whatever, in a relatively quiet month for games after November and December’s frenzy of high-budget actioners, perhaps a few minutes of complimentary squad-based violence will feel a welcome treat. The demo is approximately 40 Peggles, 8.7 iPeggles, 5,900 Sumotoris, or pretty much one entire disc for any PC games magazine that still foolishly glues CDs rather than DVDs onto its cover.

Oh, and Jeff Gerstmann has his own blog these days, in case you, as I did, stopped following the story as soon as it became depressingly obvious that Gamespot were going to get away with firing him scot-free.

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37 Comments »

  1. Evo says:

    Hazaa!

    Just the other day I blogged about my initial impressions of Kane and Lynch after five minutes of gameplay – here.

    Beware of foul language in my article :O

  2. Steve says:

    I remember at the time thinking Gerstmann had little defence considering his video review, which was basically a rant. It doesn’t square up to a 6/10 score at all, either.

    To be honest, a 6 is probably right for Kane and Lynch. Having completed the entire game, it definitely does plenty of things right – and if it had just been playtested more it would probably be an 8. But between the sloppy cover system, the ridiculous difficulty spikes (I’m looking at you, Havana) and various other nonsense, it’s just not a great game.

  3. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    (Coincidental aside – rare disease Gerstmann’s Syndrome has as one of its symptoms “a lack of understanding of the rules for calculation or arithmetic”. In a crazy alternate world where Gerstmann suffered from Gerstmann’s, at least he’d have a fine reason for awarding 6/10 to a game he kicked the hell out of…)

    It would also give an excuse for his somewhat barmy idea to mark games out of 19.

  4. Ben Abraham says:

    How come you changed the picture for this article? What was wrong with Balaclava’d men standing around in a red drenched foyer?

  5. Alec Meer says:

    We’d used it before. And I’m fussy.

  6. Ben Abraham says:

    Fair call.

  7. Kismet says:

    I’ll get the demo for when I’ll have finished eXperience 112, should be quite a change of pace.

    I had good vibes toward Kane & Lynch, so I was surprised and disappointed when I read the reviews – almost went ahead and bought the game anyway (then I checked my last three months credit card billings for games shopping and decided it was not the case to).

    I’m still stubbornly decided to get it at some point, but for now the demo will do.

  8. Wroth says:

    I only just got the pun in the title :D

  9. Richard says:

    My favourite bit in Kane and Lynch is the first level, where the only thing stopping you walking off into the sunset is an invisible wall over the main road. And the way it introduces the 7 as the most cack-handed syndicate in the world, with their ‘break out of van in middle of Copland with the escape car several kilometers away’ masterplan.

  10. Synoptase says:

    Kane&Lynch is just so full of “gee, if they had more time, this would of been great” features. Gameplay is sometimes fun and enjoyable, but some other times (yes indeed), it’s very aproximate. You get that unfinished/slacky/… gameplay.
    Even the delirious (and hilarious) moments of Lynch don’t save the lack of polishing.

  11. StolenName says:

    Why are so many people using white on black for blogs now a days? Jaffe does it, Evo did it haha, and now bloody Gerstmann – don’t you people know it fucking hurts your eyes!

    On another note, I’m downloading the game via Steam now and should see how it goes tomorrow. Thankfully I’m heading into it with ZERO expectations so lets see if I can do the reverse of everyone finding what’s wrong with it and see if there’s any joy to be had.

    I’ll let you know how it goes ;)

  12. Taxman says:

    Cool must try this out as I avoided the game till now even though supposedly the PC version is better than the console versions because of the controls.

  13. James T says:

    It would also give an excuse for his somewhat barmy idea to mark games out of 19.

    Hah, like rating games out of 10 hasn’t been bad enough… There’d be a lot less of that ‘BETR THAN PRO EVO 9 THEN?’ crap if sites like Eurogamer et al eschewed ratings altogether, or at least used 5 stars, like newspaper movie reviews — sure, that’s still 10 slots (what with half-stars), but for some reason, it doesn’t seem to instil the same strange desire in readers/writers to consider ’5′ the bottom of the scale, rather than the middle.

  14. Asif says:

    Having played the entire game, I feel confident that this game is completely crap. I wrote a lot of words explaining why. However, I played it on the Xbox 360, so maybe with the transition to the PC it magically started having redeeming features, like not sucking.

  15. Thomas says:

    I think one thing people are forgetting is the fact how ratings work these days.

    I would say, Gamespot, and indeed many other reporters are in error when they go ahead and give a game like this a 6/10 rating, infact the whole “out of 10″-system is insane, but that’s another issue.

    Of course whether or not you like Kane & Lynch is always a matter of taste, in my opinion it felt like a Movie->Game Transition done right, except, there’s no movie.

    So why doesn’t it deserve a 6? Well it could easily deserve a 6 or 7 if game rankings these days were a bit more accurate means of ranking a game, some would have you expect that a 6 out of 10 would mean above average, which in my opinion isn’t that bad a rating for Kane & Lynch anyways.

    The fact is a whole other thing though, in game rankings you rarely see rankings going below 5, and 5-6 means something along thel ine “The worst release of the year”, which is why this is obviously a big deal, the game might deserve a 6 out of 10, but given that almost every other game is meassured on a whole different system where even the worst game can get a 6 or 7 out of 10, how can you expect that to be fair?

    In my own opinion kane & lynch is definitely not anywhere near a GotY, especially not in the $20-25 millions spent on developement, but it’s not eyegougingly bad either, but unfortunately with a rating of 6 out of 10, that is the rougly translated meaning.

  16. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Hah, like rating games out of 10 hasn’t been bad enough… There’d be a lot less of that ‘BETR THAN PRO EVO 9 THEN?’ crap if sites like Eurogamer et al eschewed ratings altogether, or at least used 5 stars, like newspaper movie reviews — sure, that’s still 10 slots (what with half-stars), but for some reason, it doesn’t seem to instil the same strange desire in readers/writers to consider ‘5′ the bottom of the scale, rather than the middle.

    Agreed, although any marking scale is usually tolerable in my book so long as the actual review text is up to scratch.

  17. Dracko says:

    [Nasty comment adminsitratorized.]

  18. RPS says:

    Dracko: you were warned.

    A mail pleading for mercy may not go unheeded, but if you suspect you can’t/won’t resist abusive comments in future, you probably shouldn’t bother.

  19. Evo says:

    StolenName – you don’t like my blog colours :O

    I am now taking suggestions for new blog colours :D

    p.s I am colourblind so some colour combinations look ok and others don’t look ok to me.

  20. DigitalSignalX says:

    I tend to trust user ratings far more then ‘official’ ratings on sites like IGN, 1up, and Gamespy. A great example of the real disconnect in ratings vs. user experience is “The Guild 2″ and it’s later expansion “Pirates of the European Seas” which received 5′s and some 6′s in the media, but solid 8′s and 9′s in many user reviews. I tried them and ended up playing the hell out of both for many weeks, finding it *very* enjoyable. This relatively low budget series did suffer from some bugs, but all and all, it was a superb game in design, concept, and execution. The media ratings perplex me. It’s like they deliberately want to reinforce the idea that only well financed titles deserve their time and effort.

  21. Lou says:

    Having played the entire game, I feel confident that this game is completely crap. I wrote a lot of words explaining why. However, I played it on the Xbox 360, so maybe with the transition to the PC it magically started having redeeming features, like not sucking.

    Can’t comment on the 360 version, but the PC one most certainly doesn’t suck. People who played both do indeed say though that the 360 version does not compare favourably at all.

    Good game, albeit flawed. Incredibly stylish visuals though, with some amazingly lifelike characters. It feels a bit old-school, but most certainly not broken. Bought it at the same time as CoD 4 and Gears of War, and although it’s admiittedly the worst out of the 3 by any reasonably objective standards, it’s the only one I finished. Hohum.

    This isn’t a bad read:

    http://blog.shacknews.com/blogarticle.x/50403

  22. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Just had a play-through of the demo. The action seems serviceable enough although it’s nothing really special and is hampered by the cover system being a trifle twitchy. It seems worth picking up on budget though.

    I quite like the scene in the elevator where Kane implores his team to “Keep it cool” while all five of them are still brazenly brandishing their guns in front of a security guard (going by the first video in the shacknews article this has apparently been changed in the full game).

  23. Lou says:

    “w The media ratings perplex me. It’s like they deliberately want to reinforce the idea that only well financed titles deserve their time and effort.”

    I know what you’re talking about – what is a brilliant game for me and what most of the gaming press gives a 10 seems to drift further apart for me each year. Many sites seem to rate, first and foremost, polish and a big budget these days. As much as I enjoy many of these games as well, there’s too much emphasis on these things these days.

  24. Dan says:

    I’ve been playing Hitman Blood Money recently, and it’s quite interesting to note that Kane and Lynch and their antics are mentioned in the newspaper reports between missions.

  25. Turin Turambar says:

    Totally agreed Lou. Most of reviewers overvalue the game’s polish and production values. Polish is good, when the “core” game is good. If not, it is just irrelevant.

    Other great games are ignored and have harsher reviews because they are a bit rough in the edges, even if the core game is three or four times better than the games of big budget.

  26. Steve says:

    This isn’t a bad read:

    http://blog.shacknews.com/blogarticle.x/50403

    Much appreciated.

  27. StolenName says:

    Hahaha Sorry EVO! Wasn’t directly attacking you but I find it really difficult to concentrate on blogs that use a white on black text. Feels like I’m straining to read – and then once you look away it’s hard to read regular text black on white haha.

  28. Kieron Gillen says:

    (There’s an irony, of course, that if you gave an obscure a high score the user average will drop because more people will play it and they’ll hate it for all the lack of polish reasons)

    KG

  29. Pace says:

    I agree with StolenName, white text on black background is extremely uncomfortable for me to read. Stop it everyone! It must not bother some people as much, but it drives me crazy.

    (though to be honest StolenName, your avatar isn’t real easy on the eyes either. sorry!)

  30. mister slim says:

    Based on that Shacknews story it sounds like IO should have left KB&M control in the PS3 version. I wonder what their rationale for taking it out was.

  31. Andrew says:

    That Shacknews article is quite fascinating. Particularly this bit:

    The scene: I’m playing the game single-player. Kane, Lynch and crew are escaping a failed bank heist, and must clear a roadblocked highway tunnel to proceed. As Kane, I run down the tunnel looking for an exit, when suddenly a cop car screeches up to block the way. Two cops jump out, a man driving and a female officer with a shotgun. I shoot and kill the man, then wing the woman, pitching her to the ground still alive but disarmed. My personal style is to coldly walk up to any maimed enemies and execute them with a pistol shot, just to stay in character.

    As I walk up to the female cop, she starts talking to me: “Please, I have a baby daughter at home. I don’t want to die, don’t do this to me.” It gives me pause: I think, lord that’s bleak. Alright, maybe I’ll let this one live. Maybe the ambulance will get here in time, and–suddenly, from off screen, a blast of buckshot tears into the cop’s face. I turn around to find Lynch standing there, pumping a fresh shell into his shotgun’s chamber.

    It was an occurrence that emerged from the game’s interlocking mechanics, and was more surprising, disturbing, and better illustrated the game’s characters than a scripted cutscene ever could have. Moreso than a simple random coincidence, this moment resulted from Kane & Lynch’s unorthodox protagonists and setting, its core gameplay, and its designers’ dedication to extending the characters’ personalities into the playable space. It expressed feelings that don’t come from the power fantasies of your standard T-rated shooter, or from the heavy-handed shock tactics of a game such as Manhunt or Postal 2. Like the rest of the game, it felt uniquely understated and human.

    This is actually enough to make me want to download the demo, which I wasn’t planning on doing before.

  32. Thomas says:

    Yeah i noticed something of that well, it really helped contribute to the atmosphere.

    I also remember Lynch running around shooting people that lay injured on the floor, i didn’t notice it until later in the game, but it was a very good detail which definitely ups the experience.

  33. Joonas says:

    I completed the 360 version. I didn’t have major problems with the mechanics and found the storytelling very good indeed. Yeah, it lacks polish and no, it’s not a *great* game, but certainly not rubbish. Give it a go if it intrigues you.

    596 more words on this: dustygamer.mcmuumio.net

  34. James T says:

    Just had a punt at the demo; if there is indeed anything remotely interesting about this game, it wasn’t there.

  35. Andy Johnson says:

    It’s definitely worth a purchase on the PC. It’s deeply flawed, but there are numerous qualities that shine through – the graphics are good, the story is mostly excellent, and the voice acting is endlessly impressive. In some ways it’s actually stubbornly unconventional – Io completely refused to conform to standard assumptions about the way a third-person action game should be plotted. And there are genuinely good ideas – the between-mission dialogue, the implementation of the adrenaline mechanic, and the continued evolution of Io’s NPC crowd technology. I paid £18 for my copy and I certainly haven’t regretted it. I gave it 77% on my reviews blog.

  36. Matt says:

    I was looking forward to this game prior to release so I thought I’d give the demo a go. Unfortunately the game pauses intermittently, apparently I have the wrong type of keyboard. I hate when I get tech issues, I don’t think I want to try it enough to monkey around trying to overcome them for a demo unfortunately. If I had bought the game I would have tried obviously. So this will probably be a game that just slips by me.

  37. Optimaximal says:

    Another problem with the game is that they munted Co-op play by forcing it to split-screen only with one player on a 360 pad and then made the entire interesting side of the multiplayer component GfW LIVE: Gold only.